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Breaking the Bank: Less Common But Expensive Car Parts That Can Drain Your Wallet

BY: Keith Benline
Happy African American car mechanic working in repair shop

Keeping your vehicle serviced and maintained is essential if you want to save money in the long run. Repairs and unexpected breakdowns can end up costing a lot of money, and if you can avoid them, you can keep the overall cost of your vehicle as low as possible. Some automotive components have a reputation for being more expensive to repair or replace than others, though.

Things like the transmission, radiator, and head gasket are notoriously pricey. However, other components can also be prohibitively expensive, and it is important to know what they are so you can avoid replacing them whenever possible.

Many of the most expensive car parts are the mechanical parts that make up the drivetrain and do most of the work to move the vehicle. Now that cars are getting more high-tech, though, some of the most expensive parts have to do with the electrical system and all the sensors and computer parts that run the vehicle.

By knowing some of the little-known components that can be the most expensive to replace, you can be ready if one of them wears out.

Hybrid Battery Systems: Power at a Price

Hybrid vehicles are becoming more and more popular and common, with most major automotive manufacturers including at least one hybrid in their lineup. While a hybrid can save you a lot of money at the fuel pump, the batteries they use can be incredibly expensive to replace. Hybrid batteries are meant to last anywhere between 100,000 and 200,000 miles before they start deteriorating, but if you are someone who drives a lot on a yearly basis, you may be faced with a replacement sooner rather than later.

According to RepairPal, a hybrid or electric car battery replacement will cost between $6,645 and $6,719, depending on the vehicle. Most hybrid manufacturers offer a battery warranty that will help cover the cost of a replacement if the battery wears out prematurely. If your vehicle is outside of this warranty period, though, you could end up having to pay for the replacement if you want to keep your hybrid running. Because of this, it is a good idea to have a plan for when your battery wears out, whether this means paying for the replacement out of pocket or replacing the vehicle entirely.

Transmission Sensors and Electronics: Small Parts, Big Costs

Older, simpler transmissions are incredibly expensive to replace and have always been one of the top components car owners mention when they talk about pricey car parts. One of the great advancements in car technology has been the computerization and automation of vehicle shifting with the car engine control unit, or ECU. This allows the transmission to run at the most efficient level and reduces the amount of strain that is put on it over time. With less strain on your transmission, you are much more likely to get many miles out of it as long as you maintain it properly and replace the fluid on a regular basis.

While transmissions are getting more complex and, therefore, lasting longer, the sensors and electronics that run them can also be quite expensive to replace. For example, a transmission position sensor will cost between $283 and $336 to replace. This is just one of the many small pieces of electrical equipment that run your modern vehicle’s gearbox, so it is a good idea to be prepared for these sensors and electronics to fail. While your transmission may last you for many years, you will most likely have to replace some of the components that make it possible.

Infotainment Systems: High-Tech, High Cost

Most new cars come with a comprehensive infotainment system. These systems can be incredibly convenient if you want to track things like your mileage and navigation or connect with your smartphone. When the infotainment system in your vehicle fails, though, it can be incredibly expensive to replace. While it will be covered under your car’s factory warranty, once this warranty is up, you will be responsible for fixing the system on your own.

The cost of fixing the infotainment system in your standard or luxury car will vary heavily and depend on what is wrong with it and which components need to be replaced. If you end up needing to completely replace the whole system, though, you could easily be looking at thousands of dollars. That is why it is so important to update the system when you can and make sure that the screen is protected at all times.

Air Conditioning Compressor: Cooling at a Cost

When the temperatures rise, it is essential that you make sure your car can stay cool and that you can be as comfortable as possible when behind the wheel. If your AC is not working properly, it can be a major hassle to drive in the heat and can even be a dangerous distraction. When a vehicle’s air conditioning system fails, the compressor is the most common culprit and will usually be the first thing a mechanic looks at. It is also one of the most expensive components to replace if it ends up being the cause of your AC’s failure.

According to RepairPal, the average cost to replace an air conditioning compressor is somewhere between $930 and $1,149. This price depends on the car brand you have and how difficult it might be to do this labor-intensive repair, so you may end up paying even more in the end. Doing what you can to keep your AC compressor in good condition is your best option if you want to stay cool in the summer and save some money.

Suspension Components: The Price of a Smooth Ride

Your vehicle’s suspension system is the buffer between you and the road, and if it isn’t in good working order, you will feel it in the driver’s seat. A faulty suspension can cause issues with handling and steering and can be a serious safety hazard if it isn’t addressed as soon as possible. Even if you don’t regularly take your vehicle off-road, you could still have to deal with suspension issues and failed components that can be incredibly expensive to repair.

Replacement costs for a damaged suspension strut or shock can be anywhere between $924 and $1,043 and can even go up from there depending on where you live and what kind of vehicle you have. It is also important to keep in mind that your vehicle has four shocks or struts, with one for each wheel, so the likelihood that you will eventually have to replace more than one is fairly high.

Extended Warranties: A Financial Safety Net

When you buy a new car, it will almost always come with a warranty that is provided by the manufacturer. This manufacturer’s or factory warranty is designed to protect you from repairs that may need to happen due to issues at the factory or flaws in the vehicle’s design. Most of the time, this warranty will be incredibly comprehensive and will be valid for somewhere between 3 years or 36,000 miles and five years or 60,000 miles, whichever comes first. Once this warranty is over, you will be responsible for any repairs that have to be done on your vehicle, regardless of the cause or how expensive that repair might be.

If you want to protect yourself and your vehicle after your factory warranty is up, an extended car warranty is a great option. An extended warranty, which is more accurately called a vehicle service contract (VSC), can be purchased from a third-party provider and help protect you from expensive repairs. By getting an auto protection plan that covers components like the infotainment system, electronics, and suspension, you can prevent serious breakdowns and get the help you need when your car’s most expensive components fail.

Cover Your Most Expensive Car Repairs With Endurance

High vehicle repair costs can be a major blow to your bank account, especially if they are unexpected. By knowing which components are the most expensive to replace and what to watch out for, you can be prepared and do everything you can to mitigate the cost. With a high-quality extended warranty, you can be ready for any kind of repair, no matter how costly it might be to get it done.

Endurance Warranty has auto protection plans available for nearly every kind of car and driver. Our customers also receive standard benefits, including 24/7 roadside assistance, rental car reimbursement, and trip interruption protection. Plus, you can also access our Elite Benefits package, which includes four tire repairs or replacements per year, key fob replacement, and up to $1,000 in total loss coverage.*

Take advantage of our auto protection services and experience the Endurance difference for yourself. Contact an Endurance plan advisor at (800) 253-8203 to request a FREE quote, or visit our online store for an instant price preview.

Visit the Endurance blog for articles on other expensive car parts, such as catalytic converters, injectors, cylinder heads, and aftermarket upgrades.

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